Officials in northwest Pakistan say more than 1,000 villagers are
attacking suspected Taliban militants in the Upper Dir district, in a
third day of violence to avenge Friday's suicide bombing at a local
Local officials said Monday at least 1,200 villagers from the area have joined a citizens' militia, known as a "lashkar," which has killed at least 14 militants and has set fire to 20 homes of Taliban fighters.
Officials say militia members have pushed the Taliban out of at least
three villages and are surrounding two other villages known as Taliban
The region is near the Swat Valley, where the Pakistani military has been battling Taliban fighters for more than a month.
On Friday, a lone suicide bomber struck a mosque in a remote village in
Upper Dir district, killing at least 38 people. No one claimed
responsibility for the blast, but some local officials suspected
militants were taking revenge for the military's offensive.
Some analysts say the civilian uprising demonstrates a growing
anti-Taliban sentiment among the public. But others warn that the
Pakistani army must effectively deal with the more than two million
civilians displaced in the Swat Valley area, if it wants to capitalize
on the public's mood.
Pakistan says more than 1,300 militants and about 100 soldiers have been killed during the offensive in the past several weeks.
In other violence Monday, police said a bomb exploded near a police patrol in Peshawar, killing one officer.